Clark, William Andrews

Clark, William Andrews,

1839–1925, U.S. Senator and copper magnate, b. Fayette co., Pa. He moved to Montana, where he amassed a large fortune from the development of copper mines. He wielded immense power and had a long feud with Marcus DalyDaly, Marcus,
1841–1900, American copper magnate, b. Ireland. He went to New York City at 15 and later moved to California, where he worked as a miner. He was employed by the "silver kings," J. G. Fair and J. W. Mackay, at the Comstock Lode.
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 for control of the copper deposits and of political forces—virtually for control of Montana. Clark had political ambitions and was president of the Montana constitutional conventions of 1884 and 1889 but was defeated in the 1888 campaign to be territorial delegate to Congress. Daly blocked Clark's moves skillfully; and, although Clark claimed election as one of Montana's first Senators, the Senate instead seated his Republican opponent. In 1893 the state legislature was deadlocked, and Montana was left with only one Senator. After another deadlock in 1899, Clark was declared elected only to resign when confronted by a Senate investigation and a pending resolution to void his election. In 1901 he was duly elected and this time served his term and retired. He tied the exploitation of copper to Eastern capital, winning over such brilliant rivals as F. Augustus Heinze, and was powerful in copper development in Arizona as well as in Montana.


See W. D. Mangam, Clarks: An American Phenomenon (1941).

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Clark, William Andrews

(1839–1925) mining operator, U.S. senator; born in Fayette County, Pa. The family moved to Iowa in the 1850s and he began to teach school in Missouri until the Civil War drove him to Colorado to mine gold quartz. By 1863 he was in Montana panning for gold, which he used as capital to start a store in Virginia City. In 1867 he got the mail concession between Missoula, Mont., and Walla Walla, Wash., through which he became wealthy. In 1872 he bought three mining claims in Butte, Mont., studied mining at Columbia University for one year, and returned to form the Colorado and Montana Smelting Company and the Butte Reduction Works. In addition to buying more mines around Butte, he bought the United Verde Mine and its smelter in Arizona. His business interests were vast and included railroads, newspapers, timber, and a sugar refinery in Los Angeles. He established the first water and electrical systems in Missoula and Butte. After much political drama around the forming of the state constitution and selection of its capital, he was elected to the U.S. Senate (Dem., Mont.; 1901–07), where he opposed President Theodore Roosevelt's conservation policies.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.